The 20 most common passwords leaked on the dark web — make sure none of them are yours

Your go-to password might be easier to guess than you think.

That’s according to a new report from mobile security firm Lookout, which recently published a list of the 20 passwords most commonly found in leaked account information on the dark web. The list ranges from simple number and letter sequences like “123456” and “Qwerty” to easily typed phrases like “Iloveyou.”

Choosing easy-to-remember passwords is understandable: The average person has more than 100 different online accounts requiring passwords. But simple passwords can be extremely easy for hackers to figure out, allowing them stress-free access to your personal data and accounts.

It’s a timely concern. Cybersecurity experts say the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict could result in an uptick in cyberattacks around the world, with U.S. banks expressing concern this week that they could be targeted. That’s on top of a record number of data breaches in the U.S. last year – 1,862, up 68% from 2020.

Lookout, which makes cloud security apps for mobile devices, noted in a December blog post that, on average, 80% of consumers have had their emails leaked onto the dark web. You could easily be among that majority without even knowing it.

Those leaked emails often lead hackers directly to your passwords for other online accounts and identity theft, Lookout said. Here’s the company’s list of the 20 passwords most commonly found on the dark web, due to data breaches:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. Qwerty
  4. Password
  5. 12345
  6. 12345678
  7. 111111
  8. 1234567
  9. 123123
  10. Qwerty123
  11. 1q2w3e
  12. 1234567890
  13. DEFAULT
  14. 0
  15. Abc123
  16. 654321
  17. 123321
  18. Qwertyuiop
  19. Iloveyou
  20. 666666

If you use any of the above passwords for any of your online accounts, you’d be wise to swap them out for something more secure. Cybersecurity experts often recommend picking something longer than the minimum number of recommended characters, and using uncommon characters – like punctuation marks or other symbols – in place of letters and numbers, to make your password harder to guess.

Lookout also noted that the majority of people reuse passwords for multiple accounts, which is a practice you should avoid whenever possible. If hackers can get into one of your accounts, you can at least make it harder for them to get into the rest of them.

You should also figure out which pieces of information about you and your family are publicly available, and avoid using passwords that include that information – including birthdays, anniversaries, names of loved ones and even your hometown.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology also recommends screening your passwords against online lists of compromised passwords and using multifactor authentication, among other security tactics.

Article by Tom Huddleston Jr for CNBC©

Source: These are the 20 most common passwords leaked on the dark web — make sure none of them are yours (msn.com)

Should You Let Hot Food Cool Down Before Refrigerating?

Sometimes, certain habits are so, well, habitual, that you may not even know why you do them…it’s just what you do or something you picked up from your parents as a child, like whether your toilet paper rolls over or under. Same could be said about whether you cool food before refrigerating.

© Photo: Getty Images/ BRETT STEVENS
Food cool before refrigerating

From a food safety perspective, it’s totally not necessary to bring food down to room temp before popping it in the fridge, as the refrigeration process will rapidly cool the hot food and prevent bacterial growth.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to consider letting food cool before refrigerating is its effect on the other contents of your fridge. “If your refrigerator is set at 39 degrees and you put a pot of hot soup right off the stove in and close the door, that temperature can drop, and it can take a while for it to climb back up again,” says dietitian and food safety expert Kelly Jones, LDN. “In order to maintain a safe temperature in your refrigerator, most foods, especially those that are liquid, should be cooled close to room temperature before being stored.” Smaller foods, like a slice of pizza or single serving of chicken breast, may not have a big impact on fridge temperature, but larger quantities, such as soups, stews, or casseroles, as well as big-batch cooked grains and proteins, can impact the temp.

For best results and safety measures, per the USDA, you should store food in the fridge within two hours of sitting out to best guarantee safety and quality for later use. As a general rule: “Food should be cooled to 70 degrees within two hours, then cooled to 41 degrees or lower within four hours to prevent bacterial growth,” says Schuering. And if you’re concerned about the waiting time, these tips will help cool food a bit faster.

Tips to cool hot food down faster

1. Give it an ice water bath

“Place the food into your storage containers, then immerse the container (without entirely submerging it) in ice water, stirring the food as needed, or you can twist the container back and forth to agitate the food and help it cool faster,” says Schuering.

2. Transfer large servings to smaller containers

“Take large batches of food such as big soup pots and transfer into shallower [containers], so it cools down more quickly,” says Kelli Lewton, an executive chef and author of the upcoming book Make Your Own Party: Twenty Blueprints to MYO Party!. Plus: “Smaller sized portions are less likely to have an impact on the temperature of your fridge or freezer and can usually be placed in the fridge within a few minutes of packing into a smaller container,” Schuering adds.

3. Remove food from heat source asap

Not letting hot dishes sit on stovetops as they cool is step one. But step two should be removing them from their heated pots or pans. For example, if you make a soup or stew in a cast iron Dutch oven, they tend to hold onto heat for a long time, so remove the soup or stew and transfer them to food-safe storage containers in order to expedite the cooling process.

4. Take advantage of air flow

Even an oscillating fan in the kitchen can help create airflow to cool food faster, so put a few out, when possible. Every bit helps! For similar reasons (i.e. air flow) try using a rack for cooling larger cuts of meat. “Remove a roast carefully from a super-hot pan, then transfer into a room temp or cold pan and let it sit on top of a rack where air movement is more fluid,” says Lewton.

Article by Isadora Baum for Well + Good©

Source: Should You Be Letting Hot Food Cool Down Before Refrigerating? Here’s What Food Experts Say (msn.com)

How a possible cyberattack could affect Americans and how to prepare

As Russia’s military continues to strike Ukrainian cities, national security officials are keeping eyes on a different battlefield.

Senior U.S. law enforcement and Homeland Security officials have told ABC News that there is growing concern that Russia could launch further cyberattacks against the West. The potential targets include electrical grids, banking systems and mobile networks, according to the officials.

Currently, there is no cyber threat to the U.S. homeland, according to the Department of Homeland security.

Cybersecurity experts tell ABC News that people shouldn’t panic over a potential cyberattack, but they should start preparing for one.

© STOCK IMAGE/Oscar Wong/Getty Images

“Freaking out is not a productive thing to do. There are lots of reasons to think that the fact that something is out there but that doesn’t mean it could happen,” Stuart Madnick, the founding director of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan, told ABC News. “But there are still a number of things that people can do to stay safe and protected.”

Madnick, whose group has consulted with U.S. agencies and private companies such as Nasdaq, said the world is in uncharted territory when it comes to cyber security since this involves alleged cyberattacks by a major superpower. However, what has transpired so far is similar to previous cyber security incidents, he said.

There are two types of cyberattacks, he said: ones that have an indirect impact on people’s livelihood and attacks targeting the tech of specific people.

The biggest indirect hacking examples in the past have targeted key infrastructure points such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in May 2021, which affected everything from gas prices to flights.

“In the last two years, we’ve been seeing more of these attacks around the world,” Madnick said. “You need to realize how many of our systems are connected to computers and just one hack can have bigger effects.”

U.S. and international officials have accused the Russian government of committing cyber-attacks that targeted Ukraine’s banks in recent weeks.

Javed Ali, the former senior director of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, told ABC News that the attacks could escalate to affect utilities, such as gas and electricity.

“Organizations like banks that have been targeted for a long time have done a better job in shoring up their cybersecurity,” he said. “Others, like hospitals and smaller municipalities that haven’t been attacked in the past tend not to do well.”

Madnick said when it comes to individual Americans, there is very little they could do to prevent an indirect attack on the country’s infrastructure systems, but they should always prepare for the possibility. He likened it to preparing for a big storm and suggested that individuals who are concerned about their money should always have cash available for emergencies.

Madnick also urged people to back up their important computer files, including bank statements, important e-mails and other documents frequently and to offline sources such as an external drive.

“Everyone should be doing this regardless of increasing cyber threats,” he said.

Madnick said cyber attackers linked to foreign agencies wouldn’t likely conduct attacks that target individual Americans, but people should still be mindful of the vulnerabilities in their tech. Having updated anti-virus and malware software, staying on top of computer updates and avoiding any suspicious links and e-mails, go a long way he said.

“Cyberattacks and cyber security are not something we talk about a lot, but we need to,” he said. “This is not a brand new issue.”

Source: How a possible cyberattack could affect Americans and how to prepare (msn.com)